In Which Don't Worship Pigs, Seriously

Vance: Long ago, in the distant past, your Storyteller ran a game of Exalted for you.

Camena: Until a fooooolish Eclipse pirate, wielding a magic gun…

Vance: When we last left off, you'd won a key to the Eschaton Vault from Plentimon, but refused to turn it over to your vizier, Kumaria, until her celestial host proved its worth by dealing with the God of Luck's improprieties.

Vance: Also, there's a Wyld Hunt after you.

Serestala: Before the final blow was struck, I tore open a portal in time, and flung her into our next campaign, where my rules technology is law!

Camena: And also I made a fake key, too

Icaria: To be fair, it wasn't a very good Wyld Hunt.

Vance: You haven't met the Wyld Hunt!

Serestala: Subpar Wyld Hunting.

Vance: You did have a fight with a lone Dynast in a warstrider, although the canonicity of that may be ephemeral.

Vance: In part because I forgot you took her hostage.

Icaria: She wasn't a very good hostage.

Serestala: We left her with the dragon.

Icaria: I can't imagine they're eager to have her back.

Zanara: Yeah, the dragon was guarding her.

Icaria: Her attitude is just terrible!

Zanara: This is totally intentional and not us all forgetting.

Vance: Okay, Baelereon's got her.

Svetlana: We were going to gamble her, but we were too righteous.

Camena: It was hella canon!

Zanara: Zanara’s rubbing off on y’all.

Camena: No one is retconing my glorious Door-Evading Technique.

Serestala: Right, it was because we were too righteous, not because we were busy giving away our ability to lie on Tuesdays.

Svetlana: That, tue, is righteous.

Icaria: Camena, they actually went back and changed the rules so nobody could ever wish for that again.

Icaria: You have to screw up real bad for that to happen!

Icaria: Clearly you are a true pirate.

Camena: It's not the first set of rules I've influenced with my perversion.

Vance: You have free rein to go where you please. I'm expecting you'll be going back to Gloam, but Storyteller expectations make great steaks.

Icaria: Is anything waiting for us there?

Icaria: Aside from the Wyld Hunt, probably?

Zanara: My army?

Zanara: Our erstwhile allies in high places?

Vance: Your friends?

Vance: Icaria's boyfriend-god?

Icaria: They aren't my friends!

Icaria: Only Tran is my friend and she's on Tourmaline.

Icaria: Also every time I suggest freeing my boyfriend from Forever Jail, my supposed friends cut up rough.

Svetlana: Enh, that's just because you didn't previously have the alternative of saying, "Fine, I'll just date Plentimon then."

Svetlana: I'm pretty sure you can get everyone behind Pim now.

Serestala: Lets go to the dreaming sea for some well deserved R&R with our friend, the hostage, and our WMD.

Camena: Vi, who wants her baby.

Serestala: My baby?

Camena: Other Vi.

Icaria: Other Vi.

Serestala: Oh.

Vance: Peleps Vi.

Zanara: Oh, this is going to be glorious.

Icaria: We may have to change her name to Peleps Wi.

Vance: This is going to be confusing.

Camena: Peleps Wii.

Serestala: Peleps Switch.

Vance: That breaks the c-v-c pattern!

Camena: Retcon: Peleps Wii fights with dire nunchucks.

Icaria: Peleps Dolphin.

Zanara: Peleps New 3DS XL.

Icaria: No, that's the baby.

Zanara: Oh, right.

Icaria: The third eye is the touchscreen.

Serestala: Oh nooo!

Icaria: It's fine; I fixed that.

Serestala: Peleps Powerglove!

Vance: You fools!

Icaria: Technically I was allowing peer pressure to push me into kowtowing to Dynastic racism about babies with three eyes and other demonic features but WHATEVER.

Zanara: The cousin no one wants to talk about.

Vance: Her full name is, of course, Peleps Virtual Boy.

Zanara: So bad…

  • Icaria tries to think if Icaria actually would suggest going anywhere else.

Icaria: I suppose if Zanara's army is on Gloam we must return.

Icaria: I guess I'll have time to seduce Sivana while we're about.

Svetlana: It seems like it would be Gloam unless there's someplace with an obvious powerup, and I don't think there really are such things given that artifacts are found by asking the ST.

Svetlana: We solved one island and the other is currently best left on cooldown!

Icaria: It would help if someone could set all his clothes on fire, so that he wouldn't have any.

Svetlana: Camena?

Icaria: Just because she tells everybody she meets about the time she set his office on fire doesn't make her a habitual offender!

Camena: We should threaten the ST until he renders unto us the entire contents of Arms of the Chosen.

Icaria: But seriously would eight o'clock two days from now be convenient?

Svetlana: That is correct, that is not what makes her a habitual offender.

Camena: And yeah, Camena is probably interested in returning to Gloam.

Icaria: I guess I technically do get a power-up from Arms, once I find out what my weapon actually does.

Vance: Oh, I should send you that.

Icaria: Oh, just send me the whole manuscript; it's easier.

Vance: Barring objections, Baelereon whooshes you away to Gloam in a scenic travel montage.

Svetlana: Dang, I have a whole persona that I didn't finish because it wasn't urgent, wasn't urgent, and then migraine migraine event event game.

Vance: Oh, blugh!

Svetlana: Enh, I will just be one charm short for this session. Just don't make me suddenly really need to be a Sidereal.

Vance: I will endeavor to avoid that.

Vance: Would someone like to make a Wits + Survival roll to avoid being tracked?

Icaria: Who keeps tracking my jet-plane dragon, anyway?

Icaria: I'm just going to buy teleportation, so there.

Vance: Some manner of hunt, possibly of a non-domesticated variety

  • Icaria does not actually do this.

Icaria: Fine, whatever, I keep complaining about wanting harder fights, anyway.

Icaria: Icaria sprinkles crumbs of bread in the water behind us as we fly along.

Icaria: Home-made bread, which I baked with my Solar Hands.

Serestala: That reference has come up so many times today…

Svetlana: How long after departure are we making this roll?

Vance: Let's call it an abstract representation of all the evading you do over the course of transit

Svetlana: Evdeniya will quibble with our flight path and how it plays into standard Wyld Hunt pursuit doctrine and a Shogunate philosopher's "virtue meteorology" for 5 successes, then.

Vance: Take a one point stunt on top of that.

Icaria: Icaria basically doesn't believe that it's possible to evade the Wyld Hunt, for dramatic reasons.

Vance: I'm not sure if he should be able to get sorcerous motes from that, given Evdeniya's very competent evasion.

Icaria: :(

Svetlana: Later, Evdeniya spends hours introspectively staring into the water, gains three points in Survival and a deep understanding of the Dragon-Blooded spirit as her personality shifts over to Kiri, and she contemplates the matter again, doing marginally worse.

Svetlana: Evidently Magistrates are better at running away than extremely punchy people, who knew?

Icaria: I'm still a little unsure how I regard this.

Icaria: Are we politely pretending to believe that all your personas are different people?

Svetlana: I don't think you're under any obligation to.

Icaria: You sometimes tend to talk as though your personas don't know they're personas, and I'm honestly not actually sure who Icaria thinks you really are.

Serestala: Serestala isn't. Her introduction to Svetlana was as Bokuro explaining they had killed the real Bokuro so this is all pretty standard "stuff that my friend does" at this point.

Icaria: Although he probably just goes with whatever you say you are without questioning it, and possibly literally hasn't noticed that Kiri and Evdeniya are the same person.

Vance: Svetlana and/or Kiri find a debating partner on pursuit doctrine in Octavian. "Take my counsel, Lawgivers. Fleeing from pursuit is a but a half-measure, and it is not with half-measures that the Quarter Prince triumphs. Pick your ground and fight them instead."

Svetlana: Kiri squints at Octavian, then gestures expressively out at the water.

Camena: "Maybe I should just grab one or two tiny apocalyptic weapons beforehand."

Icaria: Evdeniya left sometime, and Kiri appeared. Where's Evdeniya? I don't know, where is anybody when they leave the stage?

Svetlana: The personas are aware enough that they are personas that truth magic would force them to admit it if yes or no were the only answers, but are skeptical enough on the topic that truth magic would force them to equivocate rather than admit it if there were more answers allowed.

Icaria: I suppose the Tomb is a nice place for a setpiece battle.

Vance: I don't think truth-telling magic would do it.

Vance: The only canonical thing that can pierce a persona is Eye of the Unconquered Sun.

Svetlana: (Evdeniya is aware that she is running on Svetlana's hardware, but doesn't like to think about it and prefers to think of herself as having somehow been infected by Evdeniya's ghost or inheritance, and if forced to admit that was conscious doublethink would be extremely unhappy and lose track of what it actually means. There's some Limit Break detritus making this worse. Kiri is Kiri.)

Icaria: We could mend all the terrifying magical traps, and also command Pim to serve us sweetmeats.

Vance: Baeleron alights at last in Gloam, seemingly having thrown off your pursuers. While you have no doubt they'll continue pursuing you, your trail's gone cold.

Svetlana: Eventually, if Octavian does not respond to her cuttingly clever counter, Kiri says, thoughtfully, "True that we shouldn't let their hunting define us. But…"

Svetlana: Kiri blushes.

Svetlana: "I thought too long."

Vance: Are you making a subtle entry, or a not-so-subtle one?

Icaria: "Theoretically I have a bolt-hole made ready."

Icaria: "At least, I told Citrin to make one several months ago, not knowing I would be gone so long."

Svetlana: "Awesome," Kiri says. "It'll be, like, under half of Gloam."

Icaria: "It's possible he got bored and wandered off, but it's also possible that he's constructed a magnificent underground stronghold with hydroponic mushroom garden and several cool mountain springs."

Svetlana: I think we should probably fly our gigantic dragon subtly in over the docks and land subtly in an alleyway before subtly disembarking, subtly ensuring that we are wearing appropriately 'street' clothes, and subtly slipping off into the city.

Icaria: It's cool; the dragon has a convenient human form.

Vance: Given how many successes you rolled to cover tracks, I can't deny you subtlety.

Icaria: Also he can phase through earth straight to my magnificent manor.

Camena: Camena does not do subtle.

Svetlana: Let's have him wait to turn into a human form until after the landing, though.

Icaria: Efficiency, Kiri.

Serestala: Serestala has never been to this island before and is a little confused. "Wait, this is Gloam?"

Svetlana: (Gloam. Gloam, at Close Range. Where the Vi and the Jaspindar play. Where hellboars are heard (a discouraging herd) and there's smoking of poppies all day.)

Vance: The docks of Gloam have a familiarly unfamiliar smell, the scent of spices and herbs and stranger things from countless ports. Today's clamor, however, is not that of hawking merchants and carousing sailors. Instead, the city seems divided into two hostile camps. On one side is a riot of colorfully-clothed cultists, hefting banners that depict a stylized boar and chanting heretical prayers. On the other side, a band of Immaculate monks has already clobbered those cultists bold enough to make an attack. Svetlana smells indecision in their sweat—they don't want to resort to violence, but they don't know how else to disperse the crowd.

Serestala: "More of yours?" Serestala whispers to Zanara.

Zanara: “I’m fairly certain I’m not a boar,” Zanara said, raising an eyebrow.

Serestala: "It could be metaphoric. Your superior nostrils of uh… truffle hunting? But the truffles are metaphoric."

Serestala: She learned that word from Icaria.

Svetlana: "Oooh," Kiri says, admiring the hubbub. "Sectarianism."

Icaria: "Boar worshippers versus Immaculates? I guess the enemy of our enemy is… I don't actually know?"

Vance: Kiri can pick out a voice that seems to be the leader of the boar-cultists. The voice of someone she has no memory of ever meeting before.

Serestala: "No wait, I think I got it this time. The sun is a pig and it uh," She sighs. "I give up. Somebody explain the pig to me."

Svetlana: "The pig can't be explained, Serestala. The pig's gotta be experienced."

Svetlana: Kiri wants to go wander into the crowd and make trouble or solve trouble or something but holds herself back until she figures out what this leader is saying.

Vance: "Don't be afraid, sisters and brothers," the inexplicably familiar voice says, shaky with nerves but tempered with the courage to persevere. "In my hour of greatest need, Boar sent me deliverance. Trust her, not your weapons. Let them hear our hymns even louder."

Svetlana: Kiri ponders this. "Icaria, Zanara, how are you guys for a musical number?"

Icaria: Someone we've never met before, or someone we've Never Met Before?

Icaria: "Well, I can write them."

Vance: Whichever set of capitalization means you've met them before

Camena: "…why am I not included in this question?"

Zanara: “I can sing. And dance. Passably.”

Zanara: “Though I may be a bit rusty.”

Icaria: "You only like the musicals where everybody dies."

Camena: "Despite your assertions, I haven't even killed anybody yet. Wait. Have I?"

Vance: Technically it was Bokuro who killed that guy she flamethrowered

Svetlana: Kiri says, "Think we need a dance-off here. Dunno."

Serestala: "I don't know if any songs I know are appropriate for public venues."

Icaria: I think Icaria has actually killed the most people.

Camena: "…why do we need a dance-off, exactly?"

Camena: "…am I becoming the voice of reason?"

Camena: "…is it Calibration?"

Icaria: Insofar as he's fired off obsidian butterflies into a battlegroup.

Vance: Octavian, dematerialized, whispers into Camena's ear. "Shall I bring an end to this?"

Zanara: “I’ll admit I don’t see where it’s going, either,” Zanara says. “But I do think we should get to the bottom of this. And I’ll break up a fight, should one start.”

Camena: "Not just yet. But stay close, Prince."

Camena: Camena strides towards the would-be-battleground with confidence and poise, dragonsigh wand slung over one shoulder and boots clicking sensually against the cobblestones. "What, pray tell, is going on here?" she asks to no one in particular, her bearing thrumming with newfound authority and terrifying confidence.

Camena: Harmonious Presence + Majestic Radiant Presence.

Vance: The hubbub of chanting dies down as Camena blazes divine glory.

Svetlana: "See," Kiri murmurs, "this is why I didn't ask her." She shakes her head and slips off into the crowd of monks.

Vance: The cultists who try to answer her question (each with a different answer, mind) find their voices refusing to answer the commands of their mind. Instead, they wordlessly point her towards a figure in the center of the colorfully robed crowd. Across from them, the monks are gripped with uncertainty.

Vance: Camena, as well as Icaria, recognize the figure as someone they've met before, albeit in very different circumstances. A humble smuggler named Ink Pheasant, sentenced to death for his crimes, and freed from Jaspindar's prisoner-hunting ground by a stroke of luck in hellboar form.

Vance: "My friends!" he shouts, his eyes lighting up as he sees Camena.

Camena: (I do not remember this)

Vance: Camena-you or Elliott-you?

Zanara: (Was this before I came on?)

Vance: (If anyone needs to catch up: <http://nobilis.me/in-which-elliott-is-not-the-storyteller>)

Zanara: (Oh, wait, the spooky inside-forest.)

Icaria: "Oh, hey. I see you eventually caught your breath."

Vance: "That and better. I have caught faith!"

Camena: "Did you really take that," she says, gesturing to a boar banner, "as your emblem?"

Vance: "I've sworn off my criminal ways. Now I serve Boar Avatar, who delivered me from my durance!"

Camena: "…Boar Avatar?"

Vance: "God of Boars."

Vance: "We have gathered here to pray in defiance of the Immaculate's wicked calendar, and to prove that we are a people free. But…"

Camena: "Oh, hogwash," she whispers.

Vance: He points to a pile of unconscious cultists near the front lines of the skirmish. "I'm still sinner enough to know it won't stay peaceful long, even if I try my best."

Camena: "Okay, folks," Camena says, shaking her head as she gestures to the cultists and the Immaculates, "let's go. Get a move on. Out and home. Except you, and…you" she says, beckoning for Ink Pheasant, then whichever Immaculate seems to be in control. "We're going to have a nice theological discussion and settle this like adults."

Camena: "Dear gods, what is wrong with me?"

Vance: Roll Presence.

Vance: …with either Charisma or Appearance, I think.

Icaria: I'm not taking sides, unless… are any of these guys hot?

Icaria: I don't think Ink Pheasant was hot. Anyway, he has a wife.

Vance: There are some hot monks, but they're sworn to celibacy.

Icaria: If only I had powerful monk-seducing magic!

Camena:

Svetlana: Some sort of… monk-seducing… demon…

Svetlana: …dance?

Camena: The Dragons spit upon my dice. 3 successes out of 17. :sweat:

Vance: The mob of cultists begins to disperse at its edges, a gradual trickle of people who've realized just how badly they'd like to be somewhere else when the the peace breaks. Only those that are ready for violence remain.

Svetlana: Kiri is singing, amidst the monks, in the temporary quiet as the chants have faded.

Camena: "Okay, good. Listen. Friends. Gloamans. Skullcrackers. Now that the rabble's gone home, feel free to either follow suit or kill each other. These are the options."

Svetlana:

The pig came knockin’ on the dragon’s door
Said I’m so tired of the way you’re rulin
It may be, I say, you keep the fae away
But I don’t know who you think you’re foolin

Oh Hesiesh burning
Keeps the world on turning
And Danaa’d’s at war with the kraken
Oh Sextes’ strewin’
Might keep the world from ruin
But the pig it just don’t want to be bacon

It says, you’ve got to fight for you and me
You’ve got to fight at the side of the Boar
It says, you’ve got to beat all the dragons away
Or I’m afraid that I’ll be turned into pork

And maybe,
Admits the boar sometimes,
They might punch you
Or crunch both your legs

Admits the boar sometimes,
Can’t make an omelette
Without breaking some eggs

But it still says, you’ve got to fight for you and me,
This cause, it can’t be mistaken,
It don’t matter, the corpse of you and me,
As long as that pig don’t become bacon

Oh Hesiesh burning
keeps the world on turning
And Danaa’d’s at war with the kraken
Oh Pasiap’s light
Might just be in the right
But that pig, it just don’t want to be bacon

That pig!
It just don’t want to be bacon!

Vance: Jenna, roll Performance with a three-point stunt.

Icaria: Do I know the tune to this?

Svetlana: 9 successes (6m)

Icaria: Oh, it's "Sunshine."

  • Icaria later turned out to be 100% wrong about this.

Vance: Kiri's song is taken up by the cultists around her, at first stumbling through the chorus, but slowly building into a competent chorale. The harmony of their voices provides harmony of movement, as what was a mob becomes something more akin to a regimented formation.

Vance: The monks, taken aback by this turn of events, turn to what they know. Weapons are drawn—nine-ringed staves, nunchaku, and chakrams.

Vance: They do not strike, not yet, but are at the ready.

Svetlana: Kiri finishes the song, cups her hands, and yells, "Soo-ee!"

Vance: (Blargh. I am fading unexpectedly fast, possibly due to not eating. Would folks mind if we come to a close soon?)

Camena: (I feel similarly.)

Zanara: (You need to eat, dude.)

Svetlana: (Eating is important!)

Vance: (But I've had so much coffee!)

Camena: (Sterling Vance.)

Icaria: Food, important!

Vance: Okay.

Vance: But we'll be coming back to this.

Vance: Next week, same time

Vance: You better boar-lieve it!

Icaria: Remember my bar advice!

Icaria: Food is important to your aliveness.

Vance: Inconvenient.

Svetlana: (Kiri's lesson of the day: insufficiently explicit sarcasm can embolden instead of embarrass! This… was a failure mode that doesn't surprise me that much, but there are only so many songs I can make in one scene.)

  • Icaria absorbs more XP.

Serestala: Oh, yes, XP!

  • Icaria buys Infallible Messenger.

Icaria: Oh, hey, I can buy Awakened Carnal Demiurge now.

Svetlana: What is our XP total?

  • Svetlana theorizes… 165?

Icaria: I believe it's 160.

Vance: Mm, sustenance.

Zanara: …seriously? Shit.

Vance: And Twin Peaks.

Zanara: Aaa, I need to watch that. x.x

Vance: So far it definitely feels like Twin Peaks, in that I can't even articulate any spoilers to describe what's happening.

Serestala: 160 regular XP?

Zanara: And Better Call Saul… and like three other things. x_x aaaaa

Icaria: Yeah, that's regular.

Serestala: Mild-Mannered Dawn Was Minding Her Own Business Until One Day She Drank Universal Solvent and Became the Amazing Brawl Supernal Dawn.

Icaria: Lord, Icaria's seduction suite has gotten really, really good.

Vance: I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing for him.

Icaria: It's definitely going to be really hard for him to keep being a virgin.

Vance: Myriad Offscreen Paramour Assignations Asana.

Serestala: What's our Solar XP at?

Svetlana: It might be 165, because we hit Essence 3 at the end of "In Which We Once Again Kill Nobody", which means we have to have had 125 then, and then 8 sessions since then.

Svetlana: Is there a session that wasn't logged besides this one?

Svetlana: Like, early on?

Icaria: I don't think so. I might be bad at math!

Icaria: Maybe I'll just award us all 5 XP.

Icaria: That said, Vance, I do kind of want to move forward from flailing-in-search-of-boyfriend comedy to the deeper well of too-many-boyfriends comedy.

Svetlana: OK, let's say 160.

Icaria: Maybe I should learn the Linguistics Charm that lets you summon dates.

Svetlana: So if it's 160 XP so far then Solar is 128.

Icaria: Although honestly I don't like that Charm because I don't get how it works.

Vance: Same.

Icaria: At the very least it should be very advanced and personal.

Vance: It is arguably not a Solar Charm proper.

Icaria: Yeah, I think so too, really.

Vance: The stuff in Miracles was boundary-pushing, which I admire.

Vance: But that pushed a bit too far.

Icaria: Anyway, I wonder where I go next? I basically have an insane Presence suite and that's all it's really in-character to buy.

Icaria: More Athletics, maybe, or back to Linguistics.

Vance: Linguistics would be my recommendation.

Zanara: Linguistics is so much fun.

Icaria: Yeah, I think I'll upgrade my teaching powers, and then start combining that with Linguistics to make teaching manuals.

Icaria: That's Icaria's final form.

Icaria: People will read my book about destroying the Realm, and learn how to destroy the Realm!

Zanara: Zanara can write a back-of-the-book blurb.

Vance: The Decline of the Scarlet Empire for Dummies.

Icaria: "Absolute filth… a morass of sexual immorality. No slaves, though. Five stars."

Camena: I'm torn between more Sail, Stealth, or Craft for Camena.

Serestala: "Icaria's words brought tears to my eyes and revolutionary zeal to my heart." —Zanara, probably

Svetlana: ^_^

Zanara: haha

Serestala: I think it's time Serestala finally goes Super Saiyan.

Camena: How?

Serestala: Ascendant Battle Visage!

Svetlana: Nice.

Camena: Aha!

Camena: …oooor, i could lean more lovely Archery.

Svetlana: I think I promised myself that I'd work towards Battle Dancer Method next.

Svetlana: And then I will ruthlessly exploit my Supernal to get Eye of the Unconquered Sun three sessions before any of you could possibly do so.

Svetlana: Three!

Icaria: Will it pop your own personas?

Serestala: Only if someone uses a mirror.

Serestala: Though I suppose that does beg the question if the Solar technically needs to dodge their own vision.

Icaria: Thinking about it a little more, I feel like Solar Charms probably can do things like summon people by writing; it just needs to be at the end of a long chain of custom Charms that establishes it as your special trick.

Icaria: Like, if Willy Wonka is a Twilight, the Charm that turns people into blueberries is at the long end of a very personal tree of weird Craft magic.

Zanara: Honestly that’s all just a single charm that branches off of Wyld-Shaping. Confounding Confectioner’s Conjuration.

Zanara: Generates magical diseases to dump effects. Man I wish 3e had Conditions.

Icaria: You need more than that to take the sunshine and sprinkle it with dew.

Serestala: You're right; you need gold crafting experience.

Icaria: That's a very specific CNNT upgrade.

Zanara: Craftsman Needs No Double Boiler.

Svetlana: I'm not sure if it'll pop my own personas.

Svetlana: Logically if a Sidereal used a really really weird stealth effect that made me lose track of where I was, the Eye of the Unconquered Sun might see through that, even without a mirror.

Svetlana: Then again it is an inherent characteristic of eyes that they can't see themselves.

Svetlana: It feels weird to reflect the Eye via a mirror, though. And then there's the question of, like, binoculars? Telescopes? Lasers?

Svetlana: My personal theory is that it suppresses the persona, though, as it passes through the front of the eye.

Svetlana: On the theory that the persona is less than half an eye's depth under the skin, while the Eye starts half an eye in. I'm not sure that makes physiological sense, though.

Svetlana: It's very important that this be biologically accurate.

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